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May 26

The Skull

theskullGenre: Horror
Year: 1965
Country: England

Director: Freddie Francis
Starring: Peter Cushing, Patrick Wymark, Jill Bennett, Nigel Green, Patrick Magee

 

When the Skull strikes you’ll Scream!

 

In the 19th century, the grave of Marquis de Sade is disturbed and robbed. The headskull is stolen and taken home by a thief. After cleansing away the remains on the skull with acid something happens and the thief is found dead by his wife later the same evening.

Fast forward several years and the skull is not in the possession of Christopher Maitland, a collector of occult objects. The skull is stolen from his friend and fellow collector Sir Matthew Phillips, who does not want the skull returned and warns Christopher of its evil powers.

The Skull is based on the 1945 short story “The Skull of Marquis de Sade” by Robert Bloch. The story would be better suited in an anthology movie as one segment instead of a full movie. The legendary british production company Amicus Productions disagreed with me and made this happen.

Horror and cinema legends Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee (billed as “guest star”, but has a good part in this) makes this a worthwhile picture. You cannot make a dull movie with these two on the screen, so even if the premise here is silly they will make it work somehow. Cushing does the absolute best out of the material and shines like the true movie star he is. How can you go wrong with a movie where you have Cushing and Lee shoot pool?

Freddie Francis (The Brain, Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors) did the directing and even though he had plenty of experience with horror movies, he failed to make this into a great film. Even though the script is silly, he could have done more with it or cut it down by 10 minutes since it does feel like it’s running too long even though it it’s only about 83 minutes.

The Skull is a movie that would be forgotten and a failure if it wasn’t for the great Peter Cushing. With help from Christopher Lee, they make this into an enjoyable feature. See it for them, cause the story won’t keep you interested.

 

 ★★½☆☆ 

 

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